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Afghan farmers-- grow wheat for $1 or opium poppies for $500?

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TexasLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-27-06 12:55 AM
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Afghan farmers-- grow wheat for $1 or opium poppies for $500?
If they destroy our opium crop, how will we feed our family?'
By Kim Sengupta
Published: 27 February 2006


http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article347957....
<snip>

There is growing anger among farmers in Helmand (Afghanistan) at the imminent destruction of their crops and, with it, their livelihoods. And some of this backlash is likely to be directed at British troops who have begun deploying in this area. "Why shouldn't people be angry? For three years the government has said they will compensate us for cutting our crop, but they have given nothing," said 77-year-old Agha Nour, the mayor's cousin, patriarch of the hundred-strong extended family, and poppy farmer.

<snip>

Helmand, producing 25 per cent of the crop and focus of international attention, appears to have been chosen for a public show of toughness. "My cousin may be the mayor but he says there is nothing he can do because the decision has been taken in Kabul," said Mr Nour. "But all they are going to do is to hurt the small farmers. The big landlords will not be affected, they have too much money and too much influence in Kabul. How will we feed our family?"

<snip>

Simple figures show why poppy farming is so attractive to Afghan farmers. Mr Nour also cultivates wheat, fruit and alfalfa in his two-hectare farm. But, while he gets 50 afghanis (just over $1) for 4kg of wheat, the price for the same amount of opium poppy is $500. The farmers say it is also extremely difficult to grow crops other than the hardy poppy plant on the salty earth of their home, which is reclaimed from the desert. The cost of irrigation for other crops is frequently exorbitant.

<snip>
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Mythsaje Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-27-06 01:01 AM
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1. Not a surprise, really...
Same goes for coca in S. America.
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